Sat. Apr 13th, 2024
alert-–-harsh-reason-why-australians-were-left-stranded-in-africa-after-cruise-ship-left-without-themAlert – Harsh reason why Australians were left stranded in Africa after cruise ship left without them

An n couple are among eight people stranded on an island off the west coast of Africa after their cruise ship refused to let them back on board because they were late.

It is understood the group, which includes a pregnant woman, a person who is paraplegic and a person with a heart condition, were abandoned by the Norwegian Dawn ship after arriving back late from private day tours.

The passengers’ passports were delivered to them on the dock but they are without any bank cards, money, medication or personal items that were left on the ship.

The ship is now more than 3,000km away off the coast between Gambia and Senegal, according to a vessel tracking website. 

The passengers spent 15 hours travelling to Gambia on Sunday to find the cruise liner was unable to dock because of an exceptionally low tide.

Instead, the group will attempt to meet the ship further north in Senegal where they hope the captain will grant them permission to re-board. 

US-based Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) said it was a ‘very unfortunate incident’ but that the guests had failed to meet the ‘all aboard’ time of 3pm on March 27. 

‘Guests are responsible for ensuring they return to the ship at the published time, which is communicated broadly over the ship’s intercom, in the daily communication and posted just before exiting the vessel,’ NCL said in a statement. 

Jill and Jay Campbell from South Carolina in the Unites States boarded the Norwegian Dawn in Cape Town to begin their cruise around the continent.

Members of the stranded group in São Tomé and Príncipe (Jill and Jay Campbell on left)

Members of the stranded group in São Tomé and Príncipe (Jill and Jay Campbell on left)

Jill and Jay Campbell were stranded on São Tome and Principe, an island off western Africa, after their cruise line sailed off without them

Jill and Jay Campbell were stranded on São Tome and Principe, an island off western Africa, after their cruise line sailed off without them

An n couple are among the group of abandoned passengers

One person has a heart condition, another is a paraplegic, and one woman from Delaware is pregnant

The group of stranded passengers includes four elderly passengers, one person with a heart condition, another who is a paraplegic, and one woman from Delaware who is pregnant

Last Wednesday, the ship docked at São Tome and Principe, a small island off western Africa, with many passengers choosing to go on private tours. 

The Campbells, who were with the n couple, said the tour operator notified the captain that they were going to be late re-joining the group.

When the São Tome coast guard ferried the tour group back to the port, the ship was still anchored – but the captain had ordered them to be taken back to the island.

The tour group were ultimately stranded in the seaside capital city of São Tome and forced to watch as the ship sailed off with the rest of the abandoned passengers. 

The group includes four elderly passengers, one person with a heart condition, another who is a paraplegic, and one woman from Delaware who is pregnant. 

The coastguard service put the stranded passengers on a boat and took them out to Norwegian Dawn, where they were again refused re-entry. 

‘The Harbor Master tried to call the ship, the captain refused the call,’ Mr Campbell told WRAL.

‘We sent emails to Norwegian Cruise Line, the NCL customer service emergency number, and they said, well, the only way for us to get in touch with the ship is to send them e-mails, and they’re not responding to our emails.’

Among the castaways is an 80-year-old woman who suffered a concussion and lost part of her vision following a different cruise line tour.

The elderly woman has flown to Lisbon to get a connecting flight to the US after the Campbells put an air tag on her and notified her family.  

The Campbells, who are now more than 9,500km away from home, said the woman was left at a local hospital without any money or belongings, and her emergency contact was never notified by the cruise line.

‘I truly believe sometimes we’re put in certain places for a reason, and I believe we were put in this place for the 80-year-old woman that was left alone,’ Mr Campbell said. ‘God forbid what would have happened to that lady if we were not here.’ 

A spokesperson from Norwegian Cruise Line explained that the group was denied re-entry after missing the 'all aboard' time of 3 pm local time

A spokesperson from Norwegian Cruise Line explained that the group was denied re-entry after missing the ‘all aboard’ time of 3 pm local time

One woman attempts to get on to the boat, as she is held back by officials

One woman attempts to get on to the boat, as she is held back by officials 

The South Carolina couple have shelled out more than $7,500 to supply the group with food, toiletries and hotel rooms, as they are the only ones with a debit card.

At the time they were stranded, they were just over a week into a 21-night cruise continuing onward to Barcelona.

Throughout the troubling ordeal, Mr Campbell says his wife has been a ‘saint.’ 

‘I don’t know where the whole group would be without her strength, guidance and compassion for others,’ he said. ‘I’m honoured and blessed that I have the smartest woman in the world next to me.’

With assistance from the U.S. Embassy in Angola, the group travelled 3,000km to Gambia on Sunday but the ship was unable to dock due to a low tide. 

They will now travel to Senegal, the next African nation north, which requires the group hiring a van and crossing a body of water on a ferry. 

Despite numerous attempts to reach the cruise line, the stranded travellers say they have received no response.

A spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Line disputed this, saying it was ‘in communication with guests’ and providing them with ‘additional information’.

Jay Campbell praised his wife for her 'strength, guidance and compassion for others' throughout the distressing ordeal

Jay Campbell praised his wife for her ‘strength, guidance and compassion for others’ throughout the distressing ordeal

The group of stranded vacationers pose for a selfie amid their troubles in Africa

The group of stranded vacationers pose for a selfie amid their troubles in Africa

The South Carolina couple have spent more than $7,500 on hotels, food and toiletries for the group

They spent 15 hours travelling to The Gambia on Sunday in hopes of rejoining the ship

The South Carolina couple have spent more than $7,500 on hotels, food and toiletries for the group. They spent 15 hours travelling to Gambia on Sunday in hopes of rejoining the ship

The group has tried to make contact with Norwegian Cruise Line, to no avail

The group has tried to make contact with Norwegian Cruise Line, to no avail

‘On the afternoon of March 27, 2024, while the ship was in Sao Tome and Principe, an African island nation, eight guests who were on the island on their own or with a private tour missed the last tender back to the vessel, therefore not meeting the all aboard time of 3pm local time,’ NCL said in a statement. 

‘While this is a very unfortunate situation, guests are responsible for ensuring they return to the ship at the published time, which is communicated broadly over the ship’s intercom, in the daily communication and posted just before exiting the vessel.

Norwegian explained that guests are responsible for any necessary travel costs to rejoin the ship at the next available port of call. 

‘When the guests did not return to the vessel at the all aboard time, their passports were delivered to the local port agents to retrieve when they returned to the port,’ the statement continued.

‘Our team has been working closely with the local authorities to understand the requirements and necessary visas needed if the guests were to rejoin the ship at the next available port of call.

‘We are in communication with the guests and providing additional information as it becomes available.’ 

DailyMail.com has reached out to the cruise firm for comment, along with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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